Friday, December 16, 2011

NDP support collapses in Quebec without Layton - or does it?

With an election years away, polls provide a reflection of what Canadians are thinking but have little bearing on what happens in the House of Commons. Unlike the seven years that preceded the May federal election, the country is not on the brink of a new election with every passing season.

But even with the next vote far beyond the horizon, a poll can have a real impact on the political landscape.

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

Check out the article for my thoughts on the implications of the poll, but before you do let's look at the numbers of this new Harris-Decima survey.
Their last poll was taken between October 27 and November 6, and there has been very little national change since then: the Conservatives are down two points to 34%, the New Democrats are down one point to 28%, and the Liberals are unchanged at 22%. All variations within the margin of error.

But in Ontario and Quebec some interesting things come out of this poll.

In Ontario, the Tories are down two to 36% and the Liberals are also down two to 31%, but the NDP is up six points to 27%. This gain is an important one because the party has lost so much support in Quebec.

There, the NDP is down 10 points to 26%, tied with the Bloc Québécois (up six points). The Liberals are up two to 20% and the Conservatives are down one to 17%. It's a very crowded field.

But is the NDP really down to 26%? Harris-Decima surveys 2,000 people over two weeks so the sample in Quebec is likely some 500 people, so not a horrible number. But CROP has a new poll out today maintaining the NDP at 36% - so is Harris-Decima just an outlier? I suppose we'll find out after a few more polls come out.

In British Columbia the Conservatives and Liberals are each up two points to 37% and 18% respectively, while the NDP is down five to 31%.

The Conservatives have rebounded in the Prairies with a ten point gain to 47%, while the NDP is down two to 34% and the Liberals are down five to 11%. Things have changed a lot less in Alberta, where the Conservatives have 63% (-3) and the NDP has 20% support (+2).

Finally, in Atlantic Canada the three-way race continues.

Now for something completely different - with these numbers we are looking at a very divided parliament, reminiscent of what we were familiar year with for most of the seven years before the last election.

The Conservatives win 138 seats, the New Democrats win 75, the Liberals win 65, the Bloc Québécois wins 29, and the Greens win one seat. The NDP remains the Official Opposition but the Liberals make big gains and the Bloc returns to prominence in Quebec.

The Conservatives win 18 seats in British Columbia, 27 in Alberta, 20 in the Prairies, 50 in Ontario, 11 in Quebec, 11 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The New Democrats win 13 seats in British Columbia, one in Alberta, seven in the Prairies, 24 in Ontario, 20 in Quebec, nine in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

The Liberals win four seats in British Columbia, one in the Prairies, 32 in Ontario, 15 in Quebec, 12 in Atlantic Canada, and one in the north.

So, the most important change is, of course, in Quebec. The Bloc goes from four to 29 seats while the NDP goes from 59 to only 20. Even the Liberals make big gains, all in and around Montreal.

It is worth noting where the New Democrats make their retreat. They still win seats in western Quebec and a good deal of seats in the Montreal region and between Montreal and Quebec City (Mauricie, Estrie, Montérégie), but they are pushed completely out of eastern Quebec and keep only one seat in the Quebec City region. The Tories return to Quebec City in force and win a few seats in eastern Quebec, while the Bloc takes seats in every part of the province.

It makes for a messy political landscape in Quebec - Montreal is Liberal, the western half of Quebec is NDP, the eastern half is more Conservative, and the Bloc has seats here and there throughout.

Of course, it'll probably be completely different by the time 2015 rolls around. But it is interesting to see how quickly the political waters in Quebec have been muddied.


  1. I suppose it gets a little more messier in Quebec when one factors in that new CROP poll, where it looks like everything's fine at the moment.

  2. I'll ask the obvious question - how do things look with 338 seats?

    I found the leadership question in the CROP poll interesting, with Harper and Rae both outperforming their parties' standings in the polls in Quebec.

    BTW Eric - have you ever thought of doing the occasional post in French? Some of us anglophones can read French pretty well, though I dunno if it would turn too many of those who don't away.

  3. In your pie chart, would it be possible to put the Bloc between the NDP and the Conservatives? That would make it easier to view immediately whether the NDP and Liberals, combined, have a majority of seats. It also seems like it would better suit the most common "alliances" between parties--since the Liberals and NDP are wont to vote together, the Bloc are in their peculiar way a bit of a bridge between the NDP ideologically and the Conservatives in terms of federal vision, etc.

  4. Anonymous 11:44, yes, as mentioned in the post.

    Ryan, it looks like this: 154 CPC, 81 NDP, 72 LPC, BQ 30, GPC 1. So, Tories still short of majority but unlike the 308-scenario are not outnumbered by the combined totals of the LPC/NDP.

    Anonymous 13:19, I presently have the parties aligned on a left-to-right basis, and anyway putting the two blues of the BQ and CPC next to each other might be difficult for some people.

  5. Hrm. NDP-Green-Liberal seat totals exactly tie the Tories. That'd be interesting to say the least.

    BTW, it seems the seat expansion has passed the Senate. When does the 338 version of the House become the default for your projections?

  6. When the boundaries are established, and once the votes are transposed.

  7. The new boundaries haven't been figured out yet, only the number of seats. So there is still a lot of waiting left until that is finished.

  8. needless to say, if the popular vote in Quebec was more like what the CROP poll says - it would instantly give the NDP about 35 more seats and push the BQ back to about half a dozen!

  9. Wasn't there a wild poll the other day that had the red team in second?

  10. The CROP poll also comes after Daniel Paille became leader, so if I were the Bloc I wouldn't be cheering too loudly yet...

  11. I do agree that it would make more sense to have the Liberals and NDP side-by-side in the chart.

    Your rationale for the current arrangement is that the Bloc is between them on a left-right axis. BUT most Canadians don't look at the Bloc in terms of how left or right it is. If they did, the coalition of 2008 would've succeeded; there would've been no outrage.

    The Bloc is not primarily viewed by Canadians as existing on the same axis as the other parties, so it would make more sense to keep it separate from the main "federalist" groupings.

    After the debacle of 2008, I can guarantee that none of the other parties are going to want to formally ally with it anyway, so it makes sense to keep it separate from the federalist parties on the pie chart, so that a visual glance at the pie chart becomes more useful at seeing which federalist grouping has the upper hand.

  12. Eric

    That latest national breakdown you posted says the Tories are finished.

    Do you see a trend here or is this just a one shot ?

  13. Peter,

    As much as I'd like to say the Conservatives are "finished," that's simply not true. They clearly represent the most organized support in the country, and unlike NDP or Liberals, actually seem to represent most of the population versus concentrates pockets of it, western numbers aside.

    Lets not forget that these are similar numbers, if not somewhat better, to what they had during all of 2008-2011. Then look what happened.

  14. Hey Ryan I used the wrong word there. "Finished" indeed isn't appropriate.

    Let's compromise on weakened?? Because if that pie chart Eric put up where in place the Tories wouldn't even have a minority Govt !! OK?


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